He's one of Ireland's most colorful new political faces and stunts like the following one demonstrate why.

This week Independent TD (minister) Luke 'Ming The Merciless' Flanagan has vowed to give half of his government wages to fund community projects in his own constituency.

Flanagan, an enthusiastic pro-cannabis campaigner who got his nicknamed because of his Flash Gordon style goatee beard, told the press he was giving up half his TD's salary of around 93,000 euro to local projects rather than the State.

Flanagan says he wants to use his wages to help create "recreational facilities" in his rural Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency.

The move has won him enthusiastic admirers and observers say it is sure to boost his re-election chances. Flanagan says he prefers to help fund the local community than blow the cash on taxes that will eventually end up financing the bailout.

"If this country was being ran in such a way that all that money wasn't fired into Anglo-Irish Bank, I would be delighted for it to go back directly to the State," Flanagan told the press.

But instead of his earning going to the State's coffers, he would prefer for it to fund projects that help the people who elected him.

"I would prefer that money to go into the legitimate taxed economy and to be spent on swimming pools and recreational facilities for young people.

"We have two options here - we leave it in the hands of the criminals (the banks) or we bring it into the legitimate taxed economy."